Although Jon Snow is focused on the impending zombie apocalypse, the rest of the world hasn’t stopped turning on Game of Thrones. While Jon embarks on his Magnificent Seven expedition in the north, everyone else is still concerned with the concept the show has always revolved around: the political struggle for the Iron Throne. And the fifth episode of Season 7, “Eastwatch,” introduces a surprising yet plausible possibility for how it might resolve — with Gendry.
There are two main schools of thought for the endgame of the game of thrones: many fans believe there will either be no throne at all, or Daenerys Targaryen and/or Jon Snow will come out on top.
The first possibility is in line with the show’s pattern of taking the darkest possible path and killing its heroes. The second feels fitting because both Jon and Daenerys are shrouded in prophecies about their destinies, and surely it all has to add up to something grand.
But both have their drawbacks, as well. George R. R. Martin has said the ending will be “bittersweet,” and the first possibility is only bitter. The second might be too sweet — not to mention predictable. Daenerys and Jon are both characters the show treats as stalwart and heroic. If they won, that would counter the precedent Game of Thrones has set of upending fantasy tropes.
On the other hand, Gendry winning would be random enough to be unpredictable, yet steeped in enough lore to feel earned.
Robert Baratheon’s bastard has been missing for four seasons, ever since he took a rowing trip at the end of Season 3. Actor Joe Dempsie told Making Game of Thrones that creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted the audience to almost forget about him before he returned.
Although his hammer-wielding is badass, the show wouldn’t bring him back so close to its end just to look cool. With just eight episodes left in the entire story, every character and scene is significant. And what could be more significant than taking the Iron Throne? As the last (ostensible) Baratheon, he can have a claim to the Iron Throne. It’s dubious since he’s a bastard and some consider his dad a usurper, but it’s still a claim. A sitting king or queen can legitimize a bastard. In “Eastwatch,” Gilly unknowingly discovered the bombshell that Jon Snow is the rightful king, but Jon likely won’t want to rule. He could legitimize Gendry and give the throne to him.
Furthe, like Jon and Daenerys, he grew up removed from the world of politics — that “wheel” that Daenerys is so fond of talking about.
If Gendry took the throne, it wouldn’t be totally out of the blue since he was an important character in Seasons 1 through 3. It would be a way for the story to take a surprising turn while continuing to shirk convention.
Plus, how deliciously ironic would it be if Arya Stark followed through with their relationship in early seasons and married him. Of course, her main hobby would be murdering her enemies — but she’d also end up in the family dynamic that looks the most “traditional” on paper.
Game of Thrones Season 7 is currently airing Sunday nights on HBO.